Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens! I decided to make whole wheat scones/biscuits. With the several batches I made I realized that moisture is a good thing. This dough is very sticky and I used a good amount of flour to assist in the kneading process, but the biscuits were moist and tender (just how I like them)!
Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup cold milk
2 tablespoons honey
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room
temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry
ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some
pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse
beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Combine the milk and the honey. Whisk to combine. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat
mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining
liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones
(biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the
top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones
knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough
until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead
very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the
kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth
texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold
and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾
inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch
(5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six
2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2
cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as
well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the
dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have
soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking
dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if
you want a golden color on your scones or lightly flour if you want a
more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8
minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very
unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly colored on
the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.